Disease Resistance Priority For Wheat Checkoff Funding


For decades, Kansas State University’s Plant Pathology department has partnered with the Kansas Wheat Commission to provide wheat farmers the tools and techniques to combat common wheat diseases.

Kansas State University Plant Pathologist Bill Bockus uses Kansas Wheat Commission checkoff funds to generate disease resistance ratings and identify disease resistant lines of wheat. Through the 1.5 cent-per-bushel Kansas wheat checkoff, nearly $1.3 million in wheat research is conducted each year. In the field of plant pathology, researchers develop disease resistance, identify disease resistant lines of wheat and provide disease resistance ratings of new and existing varieties. Among them, Plant Pathologist Bill Bockus has a three-year project entitled, “Disease Phenotyping: Determining the Reaction of Wheat Lines to Important Diseases.”

The Kansas Wheat Commission contributes $30,000 annually to Bockus’ research, which includes operating the Kansas Intrastate Nursery. These are plots located throughout Kansas where Bockus inoculates advanced breeding lines – potential new wheat varieties – with a host of common plant diseases. He then checks (or phenotypes) these lines to see whether they possess disease resistance. Everest, K-State’s newest release, emerged from the nursery showing improved resistance to fusarium head blight and Barley Yellow Dwarf.

In 2011, BYD was the most devastating disease to the Kansas wheat crop, causing 30-50% yield loss in some fields throughout the state. The virus is spread by aphids or greenbugs and normally causes damage to fields in eastern Kansas; it just so happens that in 2010-11, these infestations were severe and widespread.

Diseases cost Kansas wheat farmers $380 million per year. The Hard Winter wheat plant pathology team, which includes researchers at K-State’s Manhattan campus, the K-State Ag Research Center in Hays and the USDA Ag Research Service in Manhattan, are working hard to solve these challenges. They have past success on which to build.

When Bockus came to K-State in 1978, central Kansas wheat farmers were routinely plagued by a fungus called Cephalosporium Stripe, which could reduce yields up to 50% in central Kansas, where it was most prevalent.

Bockus worked with wheat breeder Joe Martin to find resistance to the disease. That resulted in the variety Arkan, the first variety resistant to Cephalosporium Stripe. Now, Cephalosporium Stripe is practically non-existent, as is Wheat Soilborne Mosaic Virus, which met resistance in the variety, Newton. “That the number one disease that used to plague wheat in the 1970s is nearly gone is a huge success story,” Bockus says.

The great mystery behind plant pathology is that from one year to the next, researchers and farmers never know which disease will affect the state’s wheat crop. What you can be sure of is that wheat checkoff funds are invested into finding solutions to these disease challenges, and providing resources to researchers like Bockus to make that happen.

“Agriculture is one of the most exciting sciences in the world, because you’re doing something that directly impacts society. Everyone has to eat,” he says.

Leave a Reply

Fungicides Stories

Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Active Ingredient
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soybean Field
FungicidesSyngenta Launches Interactive Tools For Vibrance Seed Treatment Fungicide
August 30, 2016
As part of the ongoing commitment to provide growers and retailers with the most current crop protection products and agronomic Read More
Frog eye leaf spot on soybean
FungicidesNew FMC Website Provides Season-Long Updates On Fungicide Plots
July 7, 2016
Grow Forward with FMC Fungicides is a plot initiative in key corn and soybean producing regions showcasing fungicides from FMC. Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Crop InputsTrivapro Fungicide Yield Results Elevate 2016 Crop Outlook
May 10, 2016
As growers evaluate business models and consider their 2016 management plans, strong first-year trial results for Trivapro fungicide from Syngenta Read More
Trending Articles
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
AGCO RG700 cab
OpinionRoadblocks To Precision Ag Innovation
October 5, 2016
On August 29, I got to preside over the PrecisionAg Innovation Series event, “Game-Changing Advances in Precision Farming Technology,” developed Read More
J.C. Ramsdell containment system
EquipmentClear Opportunity In The Tank Market
October 4, 2016
Crop prices may be down, but steel prices are too — and that’s good news for retailers looking to add some Read More
WinField booth Farm Progress
Special ReportsTalking Weed Management Strategies At Farm Progress 2016
October 2, 2016
The annual Farm Progress Show — this year staged in Boone, IA — is always a great place to catch Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Latest News
Patriot 25th anniversary
SprayersCase IH Celebrates 25 Years Of Patriot Sprayers At Bens…
October 24, 2016
Case IH executives, employees and special guests celebrated 25 years of production of Case IH Patriot sprayers in a special Read More
4r Nutrient stewardship
StewardshipNominations For The 4R Advocate Program Due October 31
October 24, 2016
Nominations for the 4R Advocate program are due to The Fertilizer Institute by October 31, 2016. The program recognizes agricultural Read More
Corn close up
Eric SfiligojProtecting Agriculture’s Ability To Feed The World
October 24, 2016
The rate of change coming to agriculture is growing, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This Read More
Student Young Worker CHS
CropLife 100CHS Supports #FirstJob Compact
October 24, 2016
CHS joins the White House and many of the country’s largest employers in signing a new initiative centered on helping Read More
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Two Key Account Managers
October 13, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of two key account managers: Doug Hoberty and Rob Wier. Hoberty and Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Development Deal with Scherer Design
October 12, 2016
Deere & Co. announces a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering, Inc. to develop and commercialize kernel processing solutions Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Celebrates 10 Years Of Innovati…
October 12, 2016
Richard Rominger, former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and former agricultural secretary of California, emceed a 10th anniversary luncheon celebration on Read More